Readers send recipes for variation on smooth, sweet rhubarb pie

Posted June 01, 2010, at 7:31 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

Rhubarb custard pies! Yum. Sometimes they are called rhubarb creme pie, and unlike the Beebopareebop Rhubarb Pies, which Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion” says will take the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth, this style of rhubarb pie is very smooth and sweet. I have had this kind of pie be-fore and liked it very much but never really caught on to how it was made. Fortunately, Lois Farr up in Dover-Foxcroft and Blanch Davis on Deer Isle sent along recipes that revealed all.

Blanch doesn’t remember where she found her recipe, but surmised that she got it from, “some of the girls where I worked.” Work is a great place to get recipes (and ideas for what to make for dinner, too, as I recall).

Both ladies recommend a 10-inch pan for this one, and one said a lattice crust. I don’t have a 10-inch pie pan and crammed my recipe into a 9-incher and it was fine. I did use a lattice top, which I often use for pies that I think will get runny.

This is a pretty flexible recipe as long as you don’t mind parting with eggs. Use 3 to 4 cups of cut-up rhubarb, no longer than an inch (in case you are new to this business), two eggs if you use 3 cups of fruit, 3 eggs if you go for 4. Adjust sugar to taste, with a minimum of 1¼ cups for less rhubarb, and up to 2 for more. Flour helps in the thickening department, butter helps in the mellowing. Use a little milk to keep the sugar and egg mixture from being too stiff to coat the rhubarb. Nutmeg is the spice. How easy is that?

I am so glad to have this variation. Jamie, my husband, enjoyed this pie but said he’d miss the other rhubarb pie I make, the one thickened with quick tapioca. I hate to tell him, but I think he is going to miss the other one more often.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Yields a 9–10 inch pie.

2-3 eggs

1¼ to 2 cups sugar

2 – 4 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon nutmeg, or more to taste

milk

3-4 cups of cut-up rhubarb

butter

Pie dough for two crusts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a pie plate with dough. Beat the eggs slightly, add the sugar, flour and nutmeg to mix, adding a very little milk if needed. Add the rhubarb and toss until the rhubarb is lightly coated in egg mixture. Turn into the pie plate and dot with bits of butter. Top with a lattice crust or a solid one with vents cut into it. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45-50 minutes.

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